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September 17, 2013

Son tells family he feels regret for his part in father’s death

By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

TROY — A man who pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the second-degree murder of his father offered an apology to his family and the community Sept. 10.

Patrick Mikes Jr., a former University of Notre Dame student and honor student at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, was charged with the murder of his father, Patrick Mikes Sr., 55. The cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma to the head. Police found Mikes Sr.’s body in a Montrose Township cornfield Aug. 10, 2012, after his sons reported him missing July 29 of that year.

Police found blood-soaked clothes, rags and a baseball bat in the basement of the Mikes’ home after the father went missing. Mikes Sr.’s younger son had testified earlier that his father and brother’s relationship was tense at times and not loving. He said the two had argued about his brother’s use of a credit card for personal items the morning of July 27. Andrew said he and his brother had to work for spending money, and their father supplied them with a credit card for gasoline purchases only. 

Mikes Jr., standing in the courtroom in orange prison garb, thanked all his friends and family who came out to support him.

“When my world was shattered, you made sure I was still part of yours,” he said. “When people tried to say that I was a monster, you told me I would always be your friend, or nephew, your grandson, your brother.

“I will spend the rest of my life striving to be worthy of all the love you’ve shown me. There’s not a day when I don’t think about what happened July 27, 2012, and wish that I had done things differently … but if remorse had the power to remake history, none of us would be here in court today. … I know that it is time for me to accept both the reality and the responsibility for what I chose.”

Oakland County Prosecutor Ken Frazee said that Mikes Sr.’s brothers, Donald and Richard, were in agreement with the recommended sentencing, and Frazee read a long letter written by the brothers into the court record after Mikes Jr. spoke.

They described their brother as a “great guy, complete straight- shooter with his own unique code of honor, and a great father who always put his family first.”

“Patrick, much has been made of your sterling academic record at prestigious schools and your supposed brilliance,” Frazee read from the brothers’ letter. “Sadly, this is meaningless. You are simply a murderer who is also smart, someone who squandered all the talent and the opportunities with which he was blessed. Those gifts derived to a great extent from your father, the man you so callously killed. … Bipolar disorder may offer some explanation for your actions, but it is not insanity and it is not an excuse. You knew the difference between good and evil, and you chose evil. … You never showed any true remorse. … You may one day be an ex-convict, but you will always be a convicted murderer, and through the years, you will wonder, ‘What could I have been?’ We often wonder if Pat Sr. realized in that moment of terror that his son was killing him.”

Justice served
In conclusion, the letter stated, “Patrick Mikes Sr. is receiving justice today.” They also stated that they were most grateful they did not have to sit through a trial and listen to the details of the horror.

Mikes Jr.’s attorney, Christopher Andreoff, said it was a difficult case for him — “one of the most difficult cases I’ve had, as a prosecutor and defense attorney. I have great feelings and care for him. I know this is going to be a very difficult time in his life.”

Andreoff asked Oakland County Circuit Judge James Alexander that Mikes Jr. attend the mental health program through the Michigan Department of Corrections and that Mikes Jr. be allowed to continue his current medication. Andreoff said previously that doctors in 2008, 2009 and 2011 diagnosed Mikes Jr. with manic bipolar mental illness, which was untreated, Andreoff said, because his father refused to pay for his meds or get him psychotherapy. Andreoff said Mikes Jr. is currently taking Risperdal, Remeron and Buspar.

Frazee said Mikes Jr. would be evaluated by the Michigan Department of Corrections for treatment going forward.

Andreoff also asked that Mikes Jr. be allowed to have contact with his younger brother, Andrew, which the court had previously forbade by court order.

“That is a matter of choice by those people affected by the order,” Frazee said.

“Sometimes, discretion is the better part of valor,” Alexander said. “I believe that everything that needs to be said has been said. This is a tragedy.”

Mikes Sr.’s daughter, Elizabeth, sometimes weeping, unexpectedly read her statement into the record.

“Over the past year and a half, I have watched my family disintegrate because of my brother’s actions. I remember my dad as a kind and loving man, the man that my uncles described him as. I also have copies of letters from (his) friends describing how my dad praised me and his brothers in annual Christmas letters.”

She went on to say that their family was “never well off. Our friends often had benefits that we did not, and perhaps this explains something about how we were raised.”

Elizabeth said that she and her brothers were raised to be strong and independent individuals and that her father attended her college graduation ceremony in Miami, Fla.

“I’m sorry to say I took these traits on more so than any of my siblings and that if I had been more present in my brother’s life, perhaps we would have had a different outcome to what happened last summer.”

Mikes Jr.’s mother is deceased.

“I stand here today in support of my brother and also in support of my father and how he raised us,” she said. “I think the facts that have been stated have been misinterpreted to some extent.”

She said she supported the plea bargain and settlement of her brother’s case.

Andrew did not speak at the sentencing.

After Mikes Jr. pleaded guilty Aug. 8, Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney Jessica Cooper said it was a fair and just result in this case, under the circumstances.

Mikes Jr. will serve his term in the Michigan Department of Corrections, not a mental health facility. The MDC makes the determination of the type of facility, minimum or maximum security; he could also serve his term in a prison infirmary.

Alexander said he would recommend that Mikes Jr. be maintained on his current medications. He sentenced Mikes Jr. to 12 to 20 years, with credit for 402 days served, and ordered him to pay restitution of $1,085 to his uncles and $15,261 to the Troy police toward the total overtime costs of more than $55,000.

“To the Mikes family, I’m sorry for your loss,” Alexander said. “To Patrick, good luck.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Terry Oparka at toparka@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1054.